A couple of Facebook updates, or new items recently have interested me. Because of that, I am going to rehash them here and force you to be interested in them too.
Actually, I can't force you to be interested, or even read them - but let's be honest, you have clicked through to this point, what difference is a couple of minutes to read the rest?
You may have noticed I am not really indicating if my interest was positive or negative, and in part that is because I am not entirely sure myself. And you know what? That’s fine. I don’t have to have an opinion or understand what I am talking about – this is the Internet after all.
So, here are some things that happened recently. They might never come to pass, or may have just been rumours, but either way, they are things (or they aren’t).
Second things first (you will see why I leave the first thing for last) – Facebook was potentially testing a satire tag for new items that are meant to be funny, not serious.
OK, I guess the bit where I didn’t have an opinion is officially over, because I am very heavily against this idea. I am so far against it I am almost for it. I like to think most of you would already understand exactly what I am about to say, but, for those who don’t prepare to be… confused..?
A satire tag is a ridiculous idea. New articles that are jokes are fantastic because they are jokes, and generally, are written in such an over the top way that the reason they are funny is because they are so insanely and obviously a joke. Really, that might be the whole point and definition of satire (wait, that might actually be the meaning of irony – which really people should also probably brush up on). We shouldn’t need to point out to people that these things are jokes, if people don’t get the joke, they are the joke.
Yet, at the same time, people who don’t get the joke are also a horrible problem. What if people read articles (or with these people probably watch videos, they aren’t normally the reading types) that are being satirical, but suddenly think because John Oliver or anything by The Onion say something then it supports their cause? Maybe then we to need a satire tag so that people realise everyone is laughing at something they think is right?
So, I guess I am still out on the satire tag. If I were forced to decide (which I might be, I don’t know how Facebook make decisions), I would say don’t do it.
Next, Facebook are apparently working to clean up newsfeeds by trying to cut down on “click bait” links. The way they are going about this is by looking at the click through rates, the bounce rates of the links, and comments/shares of links. This all makes sense and actually is a good idea – there should be less useless click bait bullshit on Facebook. But, you know what, why not just stop letting people post buzzfeed links? The whole idea behind a buzzfeed article is useless top 10 lists that are not worth anything. Actually, here, read this, this is what is wrong with buzzfeed.
But, maybe that is just the way the Internet is wired, I mean, go to any actual news website, and go to the bottom (or look to the right), you know what you see – god damn click bait links to stuff no one should want to be reading. "News" articles that just aren't. The whole idea is make a list because then it is simple and easy to read, so people will do it, plus, people really want to know what is best! My favourite/most hated was a month ago on the NZ Herald – The 10 bloodiest battles of WWI (You can always count on the Herald for top class news). I mean, what were they trying to point out with this? That war is bad? That lots of people were killed during World War 1? Did they need to phrase it as a top 10 list? Isn’t there a slightly more tasteful way to write this article?
And the first thing – Facebook messenger. Now, this is especially not new. In fact, this has been talked about and on the wall for a year or more I think, but now that Facebook has actually killed the messaging functionality within the app and force you to use their messenger app it actually matters.
A lot of people seem to not think this is a big deal - it is just installing another app and then carrying on like nothing happened. But the problem is the first part, it is installing ANOTHER app. Why do we need another app if the old one already did what we needed it to?
This is really the same problem I had with WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook - so now they have two apps that do the same thing, and a third that used to be able to do that same thing). Why do people need multiple apps to do the same thing, why can’t we cut down on the number of apps that we have?
In saying that, I was always pushing for people to use Facebook messenger (within the app), or Google Hangouts rather than WhatsApp/Viber etc because if you had an android phone it was already installed and did the same things, and also handled normal text messaging too (and video calls, so you don’t need Skype either).
Did I have a real point? Not entirely, just wanted to voice some more displeasure about it.
So, ah, do you have any thoughts on any of the changes/potential changes to Facebook?
Do you care at all (as really, in the bigger scheme of things you probably shouldn’t)
Update: A new update a few minutes after I posted this. I just saw an article about another "feature" I disliked. Facebook introduced auto-play to videos. At the time I thought this was an annoying idea (because it is so rare you EVER want to watch a video someone posts on Facebook), but apparently it is making news again because of the impact it has on peoples data charges. As the article does point out, Facebook isn't the only problem here (though it does also mention Instagram, which, you know, is also Facebook), but at least with Facebook it is very easy to go and turn the feature off.
Actually, it isn't very easy, the settings in both the Facebook website and Facebook app aren't easy to find and use at all. But if you go looking through them all you do eventually find a way to turn off the auto-play/load feature on videos.